The very high temperatures and forces during welding can cause deformation and distortion of the work piece. This in turn leads to increased manufacturing costs, material waste and lost time that puts increasing pressure on SMEs in the welding business. At the same time, the drive to create custom clamping devices that cannot be adapted to other assembly tasks supports the need for faster and better clamping assembly design. With the support of EU funding, the project CLAMPIT (Intelligent Welding Clamp Design Software Using Computer-Aided Optimization For Smes To Achieve High Precision Assembly) developed a high-end DSS to automate clamping design calculations. The system exploits computer-aided design to determine the optimal distribution of clamping points and clamping forces for a given weldment configuration. Further, it includes a fast and efficient distortion prediction module incorporating low-stress, no-distortion technology. The newly customised clamping fixture can be saved in the knowledge base, helping the system to learn with each iteration. Two project videos highlight the technology and the website hosts a number of documents for download, including leaflets, newsletters, posters and press releases. CLAMPIT's DSS enables SMEs to automatically choose the optimal clamping design and process parameters for welding a new workpiece. By simulating predicted distortion before welding, CLAMPIT will help SMEs cut costs and time while increasing the performance of their welding fixtures and product quality, putting EU metal-working SMEs back in the driver's seat.
Welding, welding clamp, clamp design, decision-support system, high-precision assembly